Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA Music Prep offers summer dance classes for adults and children

May 26, 2010 - Sylvia Bierschenk

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS- Reaching beyond music lessons, the Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will offer dance and movement classes this summer for both adults and children. All classes will be taught in Room 201 of the Norton Health and Physical Education Building.

Beginning June 1, adults can take an eight-session jazz class from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays (skipping June 15 and 17). Heather Samuelson, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, will be the instructor. Samuelson's adult tap class will meet at the same times, beginning July 20. Registration for either class is $85.

Nine- to 11-year-olds can enroll in a six-session "Move to Music" course taught by SFA dance professor Libby Rhodes from 3 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, beginning July 12.

The first class will introduce the elements of movement so that the students immediately begin to analyze their own use of time, space and energy, Rhodes explained. Each subsequent class will explore a new movement concept, building on material gleaned from the previous lesson. Creative exercises will lead to a group composition that will be performed on the last day. Cost is $65.

Samuelson, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Sam Houston State University, is trained in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, improvisation and hula. She has danced in companies such as Raven Dance Project, The Kista Tucker Dance Theatre, Rednerrus Feil Dance Company and Texas World Dance Company.

While living in Austin, Samuelson staged and choreographed musicals at the Georgetown Palace Theater and was the instructor of the Tap Dancin' Grannies, who perform at Esther's Follies on Austin's 6th Street. In Huntsville, Samuelson was the assistant director of the Prime Time Dance Company, a company for adults who are 50 and older, directed Dr. Cindy Gratz.

Rhodes, who co-directs the dance program at SFA, is a three-time Fulbright Award recipient to Panama, Bolivia and France where she taught jazz and musical theatre dance to conservatory students, and the current Teaching Excellence Award recipient for SFA's Department of Kinesiology and Health Science.

Her work with children dates back to her years as a professional dancer in New York during which time she taught dance in the city's public school system, choreographed musicals at a New Jersey high school and taught creative movement, ballet and jazz to 6- to 12-year-olds. More recently she has taught workshops for children at Danspace in Oakland, Calif., where she will be working with 9- to 11-year-olds in August.

More information about the Music Preparatory Division's programs and a registration form are available on the division's website, www.music.sfasu.edu/prep. Questions may be addressed to division director Pat Barnett by e-mailing her at pbarnett@sfasu.edu or calling (936) 468-1291.